Amo Joy/Icarus Himself; August 3, 2009; High Noon Saloon
I always enjoy Icarus Himself despite the shambolic nature of many of their shows. I actually hadn’t seen them in several months so I was surprised at how slick tonight’s opening set went. “That was awesome,” I exclaimed to Karl after the duo finished, “You guys have been practicing!” “Actually, we haven’t,” he grinned. Huh, maybe that’s the secret, because tonight’s set was easily the best I have seen them. There were no mechanical difficulties, no excessive tuning, and there was even a surprising trumpet which lead singer Nick Whetro played with aplomb. Nice. In addition to the songs from Coffins, released earlier this year, there were quite a few new songs which show considerable growth from this always intriguing band which I actually find more interesting than their main gig, the National Beekeepers Society. I can’t wait to see them again.
The other draw was the second band on the bill, Indianapolis’s Amo Joy (which is pronounced with a long “a” instead of short for ammunition). They had been part of a triple bill last winter with the Pale Young Gentlemen and Sleeping in the Aviary after the latter band shared a bill with them in Indy, and won the crowd over with their energy and percussion. A large box of noisemakers had been passed out to the audience in the middle of their set and we were encouraged to play along. Tonight was a little quieter due to the fact that the band’s guitarist and lead singer had sliced his right hand open before the show. He moved to keyboards, playing melodies left handed while holding his injured right up in the air, while the keyboardist took over on guitar. They’d had limited time to work out the songs with this arrangement, which only made their short but thoroughly enjoyable set even more impressive. When a surprisingly enthusiastic crowd called out for another song, they were pleased, but admitted that’s all they could do. I for one was pretty awed with that.